We love our community and want to show the love of Christ tangibly in our neighborhoods, workplaces and homes. This summer, through weekend sermons, small group curriculum and daily devotionals, we will discover how serving can make a difference in our community, makes an impact for God and grows our faith. Join us as we discover significance through serving.
This week’s post will wrap up our Why I Serve series. We will be interviewing Ted McMillin today. He is a business leader and friend of Rock Brook. Today he will speak about how serving fits into many places in his life. How being a follower of Christ has made an impact in his leadership, marriage and family.
Pastor Ryland: The first duty as a Christian is not to do anything, but to be loved by God. How has seeing yourself as a child of God shaped your life? How has that ordered your life?
Ted McMillin: There are two things I want you to know before I start talking. First, I believe the Bible is inerrant, it’s God’s breathed word for us. Number two, I’m in no way perfect. I’ve struggled, failed and sinned. It’s only by God’s grace that I’m up here talking.
In business everything has to have a process flow. As I look at my life and how I’ve pursued Christ, I see these two book ends. As God formed us, in our mother’s womb He had a purpose for us. That’s one bookend. At the other end of this chasm, we are all going to meet God one day. That requires something of us, he created us and we will all stand before Him someday. That should greatly impact all of us. That means on this journey, in my relationship with my wife, with my place in the body of Christ and what I do in the workplace in those things I must be an ambassador of God.
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Matthew 25:31-46 (NIV)
Ted: This passage has made a big impact in my life over the years. It hit me in a big way in 2002. I was on a mission trip in the Philippines when I found a devotional book by Billy Graham. In that book he talked about a church he visited in Germany a few years after WWII. In that church, was a beat up statue of Jesus. The building was bombed during the war and the only thing that remained was this statue. It was pitted and blackened and missing its hands. It was a symbol to that church that they need to be the hands and feet of Christ. What will matter in the end is the question, what did you do with Jesus Christ? That changed the way I saw ministry and my family. We have lived with the desire to be the gospel to the people around us ever since.
Ryland: The title of that devotional was “Live With God’s Glory in View”. When you look through the lens of God’s glory, it changes everything. How has having the heart of a servant impacted how you lead and love your family?
Ted: It’s a real joy to lead. First, it starts with the husband-wife relationship. We do ministry together within the local body. We were very intentional about having our faith be preeminent in raising our family. We’ve been intentional in making much of Christ in our home, not legalistically, but we made spending time in God’s Word fun. Monday through Saturday we had a daily prayer list and made that a big emphasis in our family time.
When we go after our children’s hearts, it’s not to get perfection. It’s to introduce them to Christ, but it’s up to them what they do with Christ. For us, last year we noticed some changes in our son’s behavior. When I approached him, a couple things came out. He wasn’t really sure who Christ was to him anymore and began making poor choices that had consequences. He is now in another state getting help. So we are on a journey for God to further remind us of His love.
Ryland: In parenting there are no guarantees that our children will follow Christ fully. How can you speak to anyone who is dealing with a child that is struggling with their faith or with their sin? What are the things you are doing for him as you pursue him, love him and father him?
Ted: I’ll confess, the first day I was so mad at the sin. But quickly, God reminded me that without His grace I’d be there too. We went after my son’s heart. I also went to 5 men who have been mentors to me and are close to my son. I asked them to pray for my son everyday and reach out to him. They have all traveled to see him and written several letters to him. They have shared their failures with him. I’m going after him like crazy and by God’s grace and mercy he will be a follower and this will be part of his story one day for God’s glory.
Ryland: You have so many stories of how God confirmed decisions you’ve made and things your family did consistently. Tell us of an example of that.
Ted: Every school year our family would pick a theme. In August of 2007, our theme was “Being a Difference Maker” and Nehemiah was our Bible character. Every year we would go to breakfast together on the first day of school. So this year, at that breakfast, we talked about today’s difference makers. I talked about how the United States is a difference maker internationally and President George W. Bush was a difference maker. About that time, I notice that there is flood of security personnel in black suits in that restaurant. I go walk around and try to figure out what is going on. I go back to my family and tell them I think the president of the United States is coming here today. We had just talked about him! After about 20-30 minutes, President Bush walks in the door and walks straight toward us. When he got to us, I told him that our family prays for him and his family almost every Saturday of his presidency. He stayed and talked with us for a few minutes. He told us how much he appreciated our prayers.
That night we had a family meeting and I told my kids that on that day God just reminded us that when we pray for people it matters. Sometimes God confirms in a big way that what we do in faith is important.
Ryland: I want to turn the page and talk about work. How has being a Jesus follower shaped the decisions you’ve made in the workplace?
Ted: I was hired as a leader in my company to include the gospel in how we manage and care for people. In business there is a thing called ROI, return on investment. We have changed that up a bit and we call it EROI, eternal return on investment. We are putting a lot into thinking about how we influence our people to see the gospel in action. We are just building this initiative right now. We expect to see some amazing things happen through people because of this emphasis.
Ryland: How do you lead and use that platform as a Christ follower?
Ted: My company recently took over a company in Denmark. I spent a week with them and on Friday I brought everyone together and let them know that I am Christian. I am a follower of Jesus Christ. What they can expect is: I am going to be very honest with you. I am going to work to make sure I am kind and careful with how I do things. I tell them I love them and care about them. That does two things: it makes it very clear who I am and it makes me be accountable. Once you’ve made a declaration that you are a follower of Christ, all of your days they people will watch what you say and do. I want that kind of accountability.
Ryland: A lot of times people will say they are a Christian and the message that often sends is “I am a Christian so what you can expect is for me to be offended, to be intolerant of certain things…” He’s saying “I’m a Christ follower and what you can expect is honesty and to care about who you are.” No one’s going to say “I don’t want THAT!” He’s leading the way with how God cares about that person. It works! One of my favorite metrics you’ve shared with me is how this has affected an international plant.
Ted: One of the great things about letting God take control is that you see the blessings and you know you didn’t get in the way and screw it up. In 2016, we were in India and analyzing the state of the business. One of the accountants told me that they have something incredible to share with me. Something they had never seen before. Usually, that means you are in a lot of trouble. He told me our company has a zero turnover rate. He had never seen that before. In 8 years, no one had ever left. In that culture, education is of high value and they are a very driven people. That often leads to job dissatisfaction and a typical person in that industry would stay at a company for less than 2 years. Our company had no one leave for 8 years. The way we lead people was making an impact.
Ryland: How important, in every season of your life, has the local church been?
Ted: The three greatest gifts from God, in this order, are salvation through Christ, the husband and wife relationship and the body of Christ. The body of Christ is where we go to get fed, grow and flourish. Over the last 2 decades, as we’ve moved all over, the first thing I look for is a great church in that community. Any success I’ve had in life, is in part because of the body of Christ.
Ryland: You can see how this is just a whole recap of everything we’ve talked about from work to leadership to family. That we are shaped in our world to make an impact for Christ.
Take a look back at any of our posts about serving in different places in life.
- Week 1: The First Purpose of Our Life
- Week 2: Not Many Fathers
- Week 3: Leaders Serve
- Week 4: How You See Your Job
- Week 5: Shaped to Serve
Have you reflected at all on your SHAPE? How has knowing about Spiritual gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality and Experiences helped you see yourself?
Hear the Word
Read the entire chapter of Matthew 25.
- What themes did you notice from Matthew 25?
- Talk about the interview with Ted.
- What stood out to you?
- What challenged you?
- Anything you can apply and do because of what you heard?
Tell Someone Else
- Who do you need to share this message with this week?
- How could this message impact someone else in your life?